20.08.2015 : Alex Ferguson

Managing ourselves and projects

The challenges we face change from day to day and as such our lists are constantly evolving throughout the course of a project. To keep on top of what needs to be thought of, and what needs to be done, we might establish key times at which team members come together to review these registers.

Have you ever forgotten something / someone?

Have you left the house and forgotten your keys, mobile, wallet, or to take out the trash? Have you ever forgotten your anniversary (you will know if you have)? Even worse, have you ever forgotten your child?

Have you ever been forgotten?

Have you not been invited to a meeting, or a BBQ? Have you been left standing at the airport waiting for your ride? Have you dialed into a teleconference call only to find out later the time had been moved?

It’s amazing the impact that a forgetting things can have on one’s emotions. And because we’ve all felt it and understand the impacts, the lengths we go to in order to NOT forget things and especially people.

What do you do to remember things?

Everyone has their own habits, and I thought I might share a few of mine.

First and foremost is the reminder, I like to make use of technology like my phone to set reminders so I can "outsource' the remembering of things. Making technology work for me is a great way of freeing up the mind and considerable amount of time for other things.

I might even use post-it notes to remind me of something I need to do, particularly if the place for that note is exactly where I will be doing the work.

I also use email to remind myself of something. I might write an email to myself as a reminder for something to do when I get home. Or I might email a link of some website to myself.

What if the list of things to remember is quite large?

Sometimes there is a whole list of things I need to do, and we are all familiar with the “to-do” list. I might even list and rank the importance of things that need to be done. If I need to do something in a specific order I might follow a specific process which determines the order of execution, if I combine this in a filing system in which I store specific information about the tasks and even make use of a calendar associated with these tasks, then not only do I start to get very organised, but I am also more efficient in completing those tasks.

What are some of the lists we use to organise our projects?

Much like the lists we generate that help us manage our personal lives, so too do we need lists and registers to manage our projects. These are the basic building blocks of organisation. They identify what we need to do, who needs to do it, when it needs to be done, and who might be affected. In fact we have different lists for different things. A 'list' of such lists on a multidiscipline project might include:

  • Stakeholder requirements matrix
  • Client comments register
  • Design issues register
  • Holds register
  • Deliverables register
  • Change register
  • Programmes
  • Safety register
  • Risk register.

How do we use these lists?

The challenges we face change from day to day and as such our lists are constantly evolving throughout the course of a project. To keep on top of what needs to be thought of, and what needs to be done, we might establish key times at which team members come together to review these registers. We might even use them as a daily/weekly tool for reference, driving progress and quality objectives within the project delivery.

One thing is for certain; a list, stored in the bottom of an office draw, or tucked away quietly in a document system and never looked at, is a useless list that fails to serve any purpose. So I propose, a list is only useful, if it is communicated, shared, used, or referred to regularly.

Time to dust off a few old lists and have another look?

About the Author

Alex Ferguson

Associate - Project Management

Alex is a registered Project Manager (MAIPM, CPPM) with experience in delivering major infrastructure projects. He is a senior project manager based in Brisbane and has lived and worked in China and Taiwan and is fluent in Mandarin. He holds a Masters in Mechanical Engineering and is passionate about technology and helping clients by delivering business-improving solutions.

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ADD A COMMENT
Bruce Marks · 21/08/2015 1:30:14 p.m.
Good group of thoughts, I am trying One Note to help with my lists. The basics of good project management have not changed.